Disquietus, April 27, 2014 (view all comments by Disquietus)
Oh I have such a strange relationship with this book. Overall, I really enjoyed it and was utterly enthralled by the plot and characters. However, I also fought tooth and nail to get through it, spending an entire week reading it-something that very rarely happens to me.
The writing is intricate, with a well-paced plot and wonderfully developed characters. I really enjoyed the fact that we actually see the investigation progress, step-by-step, having the clues laid out in front of us as Cormoran pieces it all together. We get every bit of information that he does, which kept my opinion of the murderer constantly shifting. I really thought I had it figured out about half-way through, but I changed my mind again about six more times and still got it wrong. The surprise at the end was the most wonderful and utterly brilliant twist, I could never have saw it coming. Given that the reader does get all the same information as Cormoran, I like to believe that if I focused on the clues and taken notes I might have figured it out too.
Creating realistic, fully fleshed out characters is a special talent of Rowling’s, and this novel does not disappoint in that regard. Cormoran himself is a new favorite of mine. A little bit mysterious, a whole lot of funny, and unconventional, I was rooting for him from our first introduction. He’s also got a brilliant mind, a knack for noticing the little details and comes across as just a genuinely good person, which was refreshing. I particularly enjoyed his interactions with his half-sister and Robin. The other characters, from his temp-secretary Robin, who is smart, tactful and surprisingly funny, to the victim, Lula, are all just as well-developed. Although dead, Lula came to life again across the pages, as Cormoran pieced together the details of her life and death. Each character added something new and interesting to the story, keeping it from becoming tedious and repetitive.
If you couldn’t already tell, the plot and characters are what made me fall in love with this book and kept me reading. What didn’t work for me was how overly verbose the prose could be. As I told a friend on Twitter, I felt that at least 1/4-1/3 of this book could have been cut without damaging the plot or characterization at all. For example, I really did not need to read an entire paragraph describing a staircase. It just isn’t necessary. I also was not a fan of the scenes where Cormoran would be interviewing someone, and then suddenly start making random internal observations about the environment in which the interview is taking place. These details added nothing to the story, and were unnecessarily distracting. This made it difficult for me
For the most part though, I thought this was a wonderful, interesting story and I really do hope there is another Cormoran Strike book.
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Dulcimer Writer, September 12, 2013 (view all comments by Dulcimer Writer)
This book was an unexpected surprise! The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling are among my favorites, so I was thrilled to learn that she had written this book. If you're a fan of Agatha Christie books, or of modern mystery authors such as J. A. Jance and Michael Connelly, you'll probably enjoy this book. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more books by J. K. Rowling about Cormoran Strike in the future!
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La corota, August 7, 2013 (view all comments by La corota)
My hopes for something spectacular were deflated by mid-book. With most murder mysteries, I anticipate a particular movement and cadence from cover-to-cover. There were very brief moments the story moved along; other time several chapters slogged along. The author's command of structure is superb. I enjoyed Rowling's proper use of semi-colons throughout the narrative. Character development: eh, blah. She may've employed the Harry Potter approach with these characters and it failed for me. My only returning interest with each session was the relationship between Strike, and Robin. It came through as genuine and human in the landscape of wealthy musicians, models, and attorneys. Perhaps I fell in with the Rowling groupie crowd expecting each and every work to meet five-star expectations.
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StormyWolf, August 5, 2013 (view all comments by StormyWolf)
The Cuckoo's Calling was an interesting foray into the world of detectives and investigation. I'd recommend it for those familiar with the mystery genre and detective stories enthusiasts or those looking for a calm and steady investigation with elements of noir. It contains strong language, drinking, allusions to sex, and violence (apart from the original crime), so it's safe to say it's probably not meant to be on the shelves of schools. That being said, I don't think some older high-schoolers would be completely out of range, though the pacing might be a bit too slow for them. So if you're looking for the magic that is good old-fashioned logic and curiosity, you'd have to be cuckoo not to give The Cuckoo's Calling a look.
Approximate Reading Time: 8 hours
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J. K. Rowling scores a big hit with her incognito foray into the mystery genre. No, she was not happy to be outed as Robert Galbraith, but her cantankerous, grumpy P.I. and excellent story will make you happy that she was. Here's hoping she continues making inroads into adult literature.
by Publishers Weekly, starred review,
"Combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime....A stellar debut."
"Instantly absorbing, featuring a detective facing crumbling circumstances with resolve instead of clichéd self-destruction and a lovable sidekick with contagious enthusiasm for detection. Strike bears little resemblance to Jackson Brodie, but Kate Atkinson's fans will appreciate his reliance on deduction and observation along with Galbraith's skilled storytelling."
by Library Journal, starred review (Mystery Debut of the Month),
"Plenty of twists....Totally engrossing....Galbraith's take on contemporary celebrity obsession makes for a grand beach read."
"A page-turner featuring an uncommon hero....This engrossing story boasts a fascinating cast of fast-track suspects....Robert Galbraith has added a singular new voice to the genre of crime fiction with his engaging debut novel."
by Val McDermid, bestselling author of The Vanishing Point,
"The Cuckoo's Calling reminds me why I fell in love with crime fiction in the first place."
by Mark Billingham, author of The Demands,
"Cormoran Strike is an amazing creation and I can't wait for his next outing. Strike is so instantly compelling that it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. I hope there are plenty more Cormoran Strike adventures to come. A beautifully written debut novel introducing one of the most unique and compelling detectives I've come across in years."
by Mike Cooper, Shamus Award-winning author of Clawback,
"Robert Galbraith's debut is as hardbitten and hard-driving as its battered hero. Cuckoo's Calling scales the glittering heights of society even as it plumbs the dark depths of the human heart. A riveting read from an author to watch."
by Duane Swierczynski, Shamus and Anthony Award-winning author of Fun and Games,
"The private eye novel is not dead. It was merely waiting for Robert Galbraith to give it a firm squeeze, goosing it back to bold, new life. Hardboiled crime fans are going to go cuckoo for this one. I haven't had this much fun with a detective novel in years."
by Owen Laukkanen, author of The Professionals,
"A remarkably assured debut. Robert Galbraith's portrayal of celebrity-obsessed modern London is at once beautifully written and utterly engrossing, his characters so real you could eat dinner with them, his ever-coiling plot guaranteed to keep you up past your bedtime. I couldn't put it down."
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